Juniperus excelsa

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Juniperus excelsa
Juniperus excelsa ssp Bra68.png
J. excelsa subsp. polycarpos[1]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Gymnosperms
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Cupressales
Family: Cupressaceae
Genus: Juniperus
Section: Juniperus sect. Sabina
J. excelsa
Binomial name
Juniperus excelsa
Juniperus excelsa range.svg
Distribution of Juniperus excelsa complex

Juniperus excelsa, commonly called the Greek juniper, is a juniper found throughout the eastern Mediterranean, from northeastern Greece and southern Bulgaria across Turkey to Syria and Lebanon, Jordan, the Caucasus mountains, and southern coast of Crimea.

A subspecies, J. excelsa subsp. polycarpos, known as the Persian juniper, occurs in the Alborz and other mountains of Iran east to northwestern Pakistan, and an isolated population in the Jebal Akhdar mountains of Oman; some botanists treat this as a distinct species, Juniperus polycarpos.[3]


Greek juniper in southern Turkey

Juniperus excelsa is a large shrub or tree reaching 6–20 metres (20–66 feet) tall, rarely 25 m (82 ft). It has a trunk up to 2 m (6+12 ft) in diameter, and a broadly conical to rounded or irregular crown. The leaves are of two forms, juvenile needle-like leaves 8–10 millimetres (51638 in) long on seedlings, and adult scale-leaves 0.6–3 mm long on older plants.

It is largely dioecious with separate male and female plants, but some individual plants produce both sexes. The cones are berry-like, 6–11 mm in diameter, blue-black with a whitish waxy bloom, and contain 3-6 seeds; they are mature in about 18 months. The male cones are 3–4 mm long, and shed their pollen in early spring.

It often occurs together with Juniperus foetidissima, being distinguished from it by its slenderer shoots 0.7–1.3 mm diameter (1.2–2 mm diameter in J. foetidissima), and grey-green, rather than mid green, leaves.

The Algum wood mentioned in the Bible may be from this species, but is not definitely so.


  1. ^ 1874 illustration from plate 68 of D. Brandis, Illustrations of the Forest Flora of North-West and Central India, 1874
  2. ^ Farjon, A. (2013). "Juniperus excelsa". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T42232A2964786. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T42232A2964786.en. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  3. ^ "Juniperus polycarpos" . The Plant List. Accessed 6 December 2020. [1]

External links[edit]

Media related to Juniperus excelsa at Wikimedia Commons